CINEMA

MOONSHOT (2022)

Movie Review

MPAA: PG13
Release Date: 04/22/22
Genre: Comedy/Romance/SciFi

Studio: HBO MAX

THE "IMDB" PREMISE:

"This romantic comedy with a twist follows two college students as they join forces in order to be reunited with their significant others, embarking on a lively journey that takes them wildly off course."

OUR MOVIE REVIEW:

Between Moonfall, Moon Knight, and Moonshot, 2022 is shaping up to be quite a big year for Earth’s natural satellite - or so it seemed. While the plot of the first two projects revolve around the literal Moon, the latter surprisingly has nothing to do with the moon at all. Instead, it’s about a trip to Mars. If you’re confused, join the club because that bit of false advertising is only one of many problems I had with Greg Berlanti’s latest crime against cinema.

 

Berlanti has done some good. Don’t get me wrong. Who doesn’t love Dawson’s Creek? Love, Simon was a revelation! But his track record isn’t perfect. While he is only credited as the film’s Producer, the film’s quality and corniness is a symptom that most of his projects exude.

 

Now, taking place in the distant future, the film follows a young man by the name of Walt (played by Cole Sprouse) who decides to risk his meaningless existence on Earth for a chance at love on Mars. This, after meeting his “dream girl” the night before she is slated to permanently move to the planet. After a chance encounter with another young woman named Sophie (played by the always-lovely Lana Condor) who also happens to be headed to Mars on a separate flight, Walt decides to pose as her boyfriend and sneak onboard with her. 

 

What starts off as an awful and dangerous plan, evolves into an inadvertent romance. The two fall for each other, but not before they land and the real world and its consequences begin to set in.

 

The film is every bit as clichéd as it sounds. Truthfully, the only interesting thing about it is that it’s set in space. Yet, the false advertising mentioned earlier kept me confused, wondering if the Moon would eventually play a role in the film until the very end (spoiler: it doesn’t). Poor production design also makes it easy to forgot that the film is taking place in space too. There’s literally only one sequence where the couple does a spacewalk towards the end of their trip that the audience is reminded of the film’s setting. Otherwise, the spaceship’s interior looks like a poorly lit college dormitory that makes Disney’s Zenon trilogy look like 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

 

Additionally, the film makes it a point to emphasize just how packed Mars flights get in this world, yet the ship our two protagonists end up on feels like the emptiest one ever. There are other characters onboard. For example, the hilarious Michelle Buteau plays the ship’s captain. But not once do our characters ever encounter any other passengers when they are sneaking around or are hanging out in (what should be) heavily trafficked areas. There’s one part in the film where they decide to hang out in the hangar where all the food and everyone’s luggage is stored. Not once does anyone come to inspect the area. It’s like our two main characters conveniently have the ship all to themselves most of the time. Despite the futuristic setting, if you’ve ever traveled anywhere on a bus, train, or plane, you know that’s impossible.

 

Now, there is a bit of a twist, which I won’t ruin for those hopeless romantics who will undoubtedly eventually watch this film. That twist only half-answers the question why the couple remains alone for most of the flight. Nevertheless, it does not excuse the rest of the film for being so bad. 

 

I really enjoyed Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor as the two leads. I actually do think they had decent chemistry. But, to me, the film failed to make me understand why they fell in love. Condor’s character leaves Earth to see her boyfriend on Mars that she hasn’t seen for years. He is supposedly the love of her life, who she has stayed with since her parents past away. He has a job and a stable future. I just couldn’t wrap my head around how she would leave him for Sprouse’s character. Not only does she barely know him for a few weeks, but he arguably puts her life at risk. 

 

The whole time I watched this film, I could not help but feel like this was just a film commissioned by HBO Max for the sake of having content. In my opinion, the title and it’s irrelevance to the plot alone should tell you everything about how much the studio cared about it. At the very least, the film is watchable, but both the cast and subscribers deserve better. For that I’d recommend one of the other, better love stories the streamer has to offer - especially ones that are a little more grounded in reality.

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OUR VERDICT: